Energy efficient = Save money
If you have a desire to grow plants but live in an area where natural light isn’t sufficient or in the cold winter, you can opt to use LED grow lights. So if you plan to buy some, below are some tips for you to save your money:
1. Cheap doesn’t always save money
LED grow lights don’t come cheap. For LED grow lights that provide a life for plants, you can expect that these would cost a lot.
While you may find cheaper variants of LED grow lights, consider if it’s really worth it. Sometimes, cheap doesn’t always save money because of poor quality, which may even make you spend more on repairs or replacements. So, always choose the one that gives the best value.
2. Temperature & Environment – Use Less Electricity
One of the biggest complaints about growing medicinal plants indoors is that grow lights get too hot, or it’s too expensive to maintain the perfect environment in the grow space. Growers can end up spending lots of money in electricity controlling the temperature and humidity: fans, AC systems, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, etc. Sometimes small tweaks to your setup can make such a huge difference that these extra tools become unnecessary, or at least can be used less. Any reduction in electricity use means more money saved!
- Keep grow lights the right distance away – too far and you’re wasting light, too close and you’re hurting the plant with too much light or heat. In both cases, that’s wasted electricity and money.
- Use efficient grow lights so you get as much light and as little heat as possible. Less efficient lights like T5s are stealthy but put out more heat for the amount of electricity than efficient lights like HPS and LEDs.
3. Audit energy usage
The essential first step to reducing electricity usage is measuring a facility’s actual usage. Cultivators can use smart meters to measure their baseline energy usage and determine where and how to make improvements.
Growers should perform an energy audit of their operation, which can be done using simple calculations, Policzer says.
With lighting, for example, cultivators can multiply the wattage of their lights by how many hours a day they are used. This figure can then be deducted from the energy bill, and the amount left is generally how much the HVAC system and environmental controls cost to operate, he says.
4. Adjust Water Consumption
As a grower, you need to make sure your plants are getting just the right amount of water. Sometimes when there is a switch from one light solution to another, growers continue water treating the crops the way they did initially. Be aware that LED light fixtures do not generate as much heat as HID lights, for example. LEDs also do not emit IR light, so be careful not to overwater your plants. You can save a lot of money from water conservation.
5. Consider the PAR
Photosynthetically Active Radiation or PAR is the light that is beneficial to the plants. It is the alternative to sunlight that plants use so they can photosynthesize. LED grow lights can have different PAR values depending on the manufacturer. With that said, a higher PAR value does not necessarily mean the bulb is better.
The PAR should be evenly distributed among the plants, which is the reason why you need to know the surface area of your garden because those that are directly under the light will receive more PAR while those further away won’t. The best LED grow lights you should consider are those that can evenly distribute PAR.
6. Calculate PPFD and DLI.
Once cultivators know how much energy they are using, they can take a deeper dive into optimizing their lighting, including the photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) and daily light integral (DLI). PPFD measures the number of photons in the visible light spectrum that fall on the plants per second, while DLI measures the amount of light the plants receive in a day.
By calculating what your target DLI is or should be—which, on average, is about 35 moles per square meter per day—you can start to mess around with the amount of lighting hours your plant needs.
And if you’ve been giving your plants more light than necessary, you can reduce the amount of time the lights are on and thus reduce your electricity usage.
You can start to see, we’re doing 18 hours a day of lighting and the plants are getting this amount in the day. Maybe we can go down to 17 hours or go down to 16 hours. As long as you don’t pass the threshold for photo period where the light’s going to cause flower when you’re trying to keep it in veg, you can start to reduce your energy consumption that way.
Greenhouse growers can use DLI and PPFD readings to know if supplemental lighting is needed, he adds.
7. Define Light Spectrum
With LED grow lights you can properly adjust and readjust the light spectrum exposure and photoperiods, according to the growth stage of the plant. Covering the full light spectrum, LEDs are best at creating the perfect growing conditions for the crops.
Farmers can influence the flowering cycle and help plants deliver their best produce faster than usual. Through adjustment to a certain daily light cycle, along with a proper calculation of DLI (Daily Light Integral) of a plant, the energy output could highly decrease according to the lighting needs of the crops.
8. Ensure It Has a Proper Cooling System
The LED grow light can overheat, especially if you use it for at least 15 hours a day for sufficient light for the plants. As mentioned, excessive heat can be harmful to your plants and the unit itself. So, your LED grow lights should have an efficient cooling system.
The heat in LED bulbs happens at the back, so that area should have a heat sink. It moves the heat away, so it doesn’t overheat the units or the plants.
Now, I will introduce two best energy-saving LED grow light in ECO Farm:
ECO Farm High Reflective T5 Fluorescent 54W Grow Light
T5 fluorescent lighting systems are becoming increasingly popular with hydroponic gardeners because of the energy efficiency and great yields that come with this type of lighting. Plants thrive under T5 fluorescent lights, without the excessive cost that often comes with traditional metal halide or HID systems. T5 lights are great for early growth stages of your plants, from seedlings to vegetative growth.
White powder coated on steel housing
Louvers make the ballast and light tubes cool and more safer
95% reflective aluminum reflectors
Hangs 3 ways—overhead, vertical or horizontal
High performance faceted secular aluminum for better light distribution
Unique lamp spacing to provide more space coverage and light distribution
ECO Farm MS 660W/760W/900W Samsung 301B Chips LED Grow Light Full Spectrum Light Strips
ECO Farm MS 660W/760W/900W full spectrum LED grow light strips with enhanced red for full-cycle grows. Using Samsung LM301B high bin LEDs, efficacy is up to 2.7μmol/J.
No wiring needed, it takes less than 30 seconds to install a fixture.
0-10v auto & manual dimmable control. 2 dimming solutions, manual and automatic dimming are optional.
Passive heat dissipation design (No need for internal cooling fans)
Uniform Light distribution. Each light bar is evenly distributed on the 2 ends of the power supply, and the PPFD value of each point is very uniform, giving your plants the most uniform growth environment.
Save 50% space for the same 660W/760W/900W grow light in the market, thus could save shipping and storage space.
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